6 ways to fireproof for your safety

January 30, 2013  

This is part of a series of articles discussing safety and security for the Purdue campus.

Sound the alarm. Pull the fire alarm first, evacuate the building, and then call 911 from a safe location.

Don't assume it's just a false alarm. Evacuate the building when the fire alarm goes off. It's not only for your safety but also for that of the firefighters who might otherwise have to rescue you. There are seven to nine firefighters on duty at any one time and they will receive assistance from area fire departments. But in those critical early minutes of a fire, they would be hard pressed to fight the fire and also save dozens of people.

And when you leave the building, move away from the doors. If there is a fire, go to the rendezvous spot predetermined in your building emergency plan so officials can determine if everyone is safe.

And here is one more important point. If you hear the alarm, it means leave the building. If you hear an outdoor siren, also called an all-hazards siren, seek shelter inside.

Clean up the clutter. Is the lab bench so cluttered that there's not room to work? You'd be surprised how often a person gets so wound up in work that he or she does not see the clutter and instead pushes it aside to make more room. This knocks over chemicals or trips gas valves.

And look up to make sure any sprinklers aren't covered or blocked. This is especially a concern in student living areas.

Clean out the storage area. Too often what goes into storage never comes out. And the more you have, the more you have that will burn and hinder firefighters. Recycle paper. Learn how to dispose of Purdue property – including computers, office furniture, lab supplies, appliances and more – at https://www.purdue.edu/salvage/billboard/dispose.aspx

Check your chemicals. Our student researchers rotate every three to four years, often leaving behind their chemicals. For best practice, inventory these chemicals each year to make sure they are still needed. Store flammable chemicals in cabinets designed for this purpose. For advice or to dispose of unneeded hazardous waste, contact Purdue Radiological & Environmental Management (www.purdue.edu/rem)

Clear walkways. For safety's sake, public corridors should be 8 feet wide without obstruction. Do not use corridors or stairways for storage. In your own office areas, make sure furniture doesn't narrow hallways.

Leave the electric heaters at home. They are fire hazards and require a clearance of at least 3 feet from any other items in the room. Most don't have tip-over protection. They are prohibited.

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